Tokyo remains top gourmet city in Michelin Guide

Japan's capital has retained its top spot in the world of gastronomy, according to Michelin Guides, with more top-rated restaurants than Paris for the second year in a row.

The Tokyo metropolitan area, which unseated Paris from the No. 1 spot last year with 11 three-star restaurants, widened its margin this year with a stunning 14 receiving the highest rating, Michelin said in a statement Wednesday. The French capital scored 10.

Michelin Guides Director Jean-Luc Naret said the results proved once again that Tokyo was the world's gastronomical capital.

The first Michelin Guide was published in 1900 as a handbook for French motorists. It made its Asia debut in Japan in 2007.

Tokyo's victory included the debut of sushi restaurant Araki and the promotion of three Japanese restaurants that had been awarded two stars in the previous edition of the guide, including one that specializes in pufferfish, a delicacy known as fugu that can be highly poisonous if prepared improperly.

In all, Michelin bestowed 266 stars to restaurants in metropolitan Tokyo this year. That includes 26 two-star and one-star restaurants in the nearby cities of Yokohama and Kamakura.

A team of undercover Michelin inspectors visited nearly 400 restaurants in Yokohama and Kamakura for the latest edition, which goes on sale Saturday, in addition to hundreds more in Tokyo.

Naret said in the statement that Kamakura and Yokohama had a high culinary potential and would have "more stars above them in the future."

Tokyo is home to 160,000 restaurants, compared to 60,000 in Paris.

Michelin's ranking system considers the quality, consistency and value of a restaurant's food, with three stars designating "exceptional cuisine, and worth the journey," without taking into account the service or ambiance, according to the guide.

The first Tokyo edition sold 300,000 copies — 150,000 of which were snapped up in the first 24 hours. Since then, Michelin has released guides for Hong Kong and Macau, as well as Osaka and Kyoto in western Japan.